Category Archives: Education

9 Ways to Be the Best Version of Yourself

If there is any doubt about it, you are one of a kind, amazing and incredible. You have unique ideas to share and important things to say. Simply put: You are a wonderful addition to the world. However, nothing ever starts out as a polished gem. Even a diamond starts out as black, sooty piece of coal. Putting some work into becoming the best version of yourself can help you shine like the shining star you’re meant to be.

1. Be There

So much about life is just showing up. This could mean being there for a friend or family member during a difficult time or transition. It could also mean being involved in the community by serving as a mentor, volunteering or simply setting a good example. Showing stoicism in relationships is a good way to be a rock for those people that need it. Being a person who shows up is a person who cares deeply about others.

2. Learn Something New Every Day

Learning something new every day keeps you interesting, relatable, intelligent and a lifelong learner. You can learn anything from a new word in a new language to a easier way to complete a difficult task. Learning new things also pushes you out of your comfort zone and helps you to grow. Learning something new every day really adds up quickly over time. Making it a habit now can make a huge difference in your life.

3. The Future Test

When you encounter bumps in the road it is so easy to become discouraged. It doesn’t matter if it’s a personal or professional issue, it can all seem earth-shattering in the moment. And maybe it is, but all too often when you are in the moment, you lose perspective. If you slow down for a second and ask yourself, “Will this be important in 10 days? 10 weeks? 10 years?” Oftentimes you realize that what you’re spending so much time worrying about isn’t really worth it.

4. Morning Exercise

Simply changing the time of day you do your workout can really change the impact. Exercising in the morning can give you more energy during the day, and it can contribute to better overall health. Not to mention, that people who work out in the morning state that throughout the day they are more relaxed and focused.

5. Prioritize

It is so easy to get distracted as your day unfolds. New complications and distractions start presenting themselves at every turn. That’s why it is important to make a list at the very beginning of the day of the top three things you want to get done before the day’s end. Having a list helps you to focus on those tasks and not get distracted.

6. Talk to Your Family

A relationship with your family is important, but also, they have information and insight you will never find on Google or in a book on any shelf. They have known you your whole life, they know you better than anyone, they know your strengths and weakness and they can help guide you to your best self.

7. Drink your Fruits and Veggies

Have a green smoothie at breakfast every day. It’s good for you. It’s fast. It’s easy. And it is a great way to get most of your fruits and veggies for the day. Keep your veggies and fruits in the freezer for a better texture and to make them last longer.

8. Be Thankful

Instead of always wanting what you don’t have, try being thankful for all the people and things you do have. You will be surprised at how much that simple change in perspective will change your happiness level. Pick a time every day to choose five things, people or pets you are thankful for. You can write down things you are thankful for daily and place each one in a jar. When you are having a tough day, read through the papers for an instant mood boost.

9. Be Yourself

In the quest to become the best version of yourself, make sure you don’t become someone else. Stay true to your vision and unique voice. Other people are always going to have ideas of what you should be or what they want you to be. Don’t waste precious time and energy trying to become someone else’s idea of what the best version of you is. Remember this is your journey and your journey alone.

 

Top Locations to Study Abroad in East Africa

Africa is a continent bursting with potential study abroad destinations. Even though it faces numerous and varied social issues and underdevelopment, Africa is still rich in culture, topography, wildlife and natural beauty. For hands-on people, field work and close interaction with local communities are popular elements of the study abroad programs in Africa. Amazingly, there are very few limits to what people can study here: economics, anthropology, sociology, international development, politics and public policy, environmental studies, biology or zoology and so much more!

Whenever you are studying in Africa, it is important to plan your trip and that you are aware of your own personal safety. Street crime can be an issue in urban areas so carry only what you need with you. Never travel East Africa’s roads by night as the region has a poor road-safety record and banditry can be a concern in some areas, for example north-eastern Kenya, north-eastern Uganda and rural Burundi.

In this article we detail four great cities to consider when planning to study abroad; Nairobi in Kenya, Iringa in Tanzania, Kampala in Uganda and Kigali in Rwanda. However, East Africa is packed full of amazing cities and opportunities!

Nairobi, Kenya

Want to meet some real-life Simbas? Then seriously consider studying abroad in Kenya. Nairobi, the capital, is home to seven university campuses. Popular study abroad programs include environmental science, interdisciplinary studies and medicine.

Nairobi is the centre of media, music, economics, and more. Nairobi is a great for business and economics students. The city has its own stock exchange, is home to many companies and is a major global trader.

Animal lovers should check out Nairobi National Park, a wildlife preserve that’s home to animals such as giraffes, elephants, wildebeest, cheetahs, to name but a few.

Kenya has 49 universities and other institutions of higher learning. The top 5 schools in Nairobi are: University of Nairobi; Kenyatta University; Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology; Strathmore University; United States International University Africa.

Other study options in Nairobi include:

The University of Minnesota – Study international development. You’ll contribute through an internship or research project with a non-profit organization.

Athena Study Abroad – Ecology and Conservation in Kenya.

The Turkana Basin Institute at Stony Brook University – full semester and summer field school programs focused on human prehistory.

The travel advisory for Kenya is currently -Exercise increased caution in Kenya due to crime, terrorism and kidnapping.

Iringa, Tanzania

Iringa is a unique and interesting place to study; it was originally built to provide protection to the German colonists at the end of the 19th century. Whilst Tanzania is well known for its vast wildlife, Iringa is more recognised for its handmade crafts and baskets.

Studying in Tanzania means getting really acquainted with the African way of living. Whether you are watching the African wilderness from your back porch, interning and working alongside Tanzanians or getting up close and personal with all of Tanzania’s amazing wildlife, you will have an experience unlike any other.

Tanzania has 27 universities and 15 University Colleges. 2 of these universities can be found in Iringa: Ruaha Catholic University and University of Iringa.

Other study options in Iringa are:

Boston University Study Abroad – Explore issues of politics, class, gender, race, ethnicity and religion in East Africa.

SIT Study Abroad – Examine coastal ecology and natural resource management in one of the most remarkable areas of the world.

The School for Field Studies – Spend a semester exploring national parks and savannas.

The travel advisory for Tanzania is currently – Exercise increased caution in Tanzania due to crime, terrorism, and targeting of LGBTI persons.

Kampala, Uganda

As well as its friendly and social culture, Kampala is also a very safe city. A busy city life, a passionate academic culture and breath-taking natural wonders are just a few reasons why Uganda is a great place to vacation or study abroad.

With access to some of the greatest tourist attractions that East Africa has to offer, Uganda is a hub of cultural immersion, full of pioneering leaders, thinkers and artists waiting to be discovered.

Luganda is the most common language and can be learned through daily conversation and interaction however, all university courses are taught in English.

Uganda offers 4 types of visas for all international visitors. From single entry visas to 3-year visas, this allows students to select the visa that best fits to their program duration and travel plans.

There is 47 universities in Uganda and 19 of them are to be found in Kampala. The top 5 universities in Kampala are: Makerere University; Kyambogo University; Uganda Technology and Management University; Uganda Martyrs University; and Kampala International University.

Other study options include:

Worldaway Learning Tours – short-term, high-impact Educational Travel focusing on experiential learning and personal growth.

SIT Study Abroad – Examine development in theory and practice throughout Uganda.

Carpe Diem Education – Track endangered rhinos as part of a conservation team in Uganda.

The travel advisory for Uganda is currently – Exercise increased caution due to crime and kidnapping.

Kigali, Rwanda

Although Rwanda is known for its terrible genocide, don’t discount it as a great place to study abroad. During your studies, learn how this country has bounced back from its horrific recent past. Go to university in the capital, Kigali, or study the mountain gorillas in their natural habitat. Popular programs for study abroad in Rwanda include anthropology, sustainable development, conflict studies and African studies.

Rwanda is one of the smallest and most heavily populated countries in Africa and it has risen from a recent history of political turmoil to become a country with rising prospects. A thriving culture, music and arts now define everyday life for the majority of its citizens. The opportunity to study abroad in Rwanda first-hand is a chance to discover this beautiful country in a completely new light.

There are 26 Rwandan universities and higher-education institutions and 13 can be found in Kigali. The top 5 universities in Kigali are: University of Rwanda; Université Libre de Kigali; University of Global Health Equity; University of Kigali; and University of Lay Adventists of Kigali.

Other study options include:

Global Youth Connect – Human Rights and Peace Studies in Rwanda.

SIT Study Abroad – Post-Genocide Restoration and Peacebuilding.

ThinkImpact: Rwanda – Institute for Social Innovation.

The travel advisory for Rwanda is currently – Exercise normal precautions in Rwanda.

Children’s Education Funds Reviews: 5 Flexible Opportunities for Working Moms

Across Canada, many parents are struggling to manage their work life and their families. The difficulties of juggling both responsibilities, for instance, lack of childcare or inflexible managers, continue to push women out of the workforce.

According to a CBC News Report, 15% of women who left their jobs in 2018 and are now out of the labour force did so for personal or family reasons.

While some working moms have decided to trade in their careers for more time with their children, others have found flexible schedules that allow them to be present for both roles. Alongside finding adequate childcare, a flexible work environment is a critical piece of the puzzle.

Since 1991, Children’s Education Funds Inc. (CEFI) has been assisting Canadian families with their children’s higher-education savings goals as a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) provider.

Children’s Education Funds Inc. also knows how important it is for working mothers to have flexibility built into their careers so that they can balance their responsibilities at home. A CEFI career means being in the business of helping families understand RESPs and which plans work best for their financial situation.  It also means having the freedom to set your own schedule.

Since many moms are returning to the workforce after giving birth, let’s review some of the most flexible work circumstances for the busy parent.

Working remotely

An ideal situation for both moms and dads, working remotely allows parents to be available to their children and make money from a home office at the same time.  Many companies are allowing employees this flexible option, which helps the modern parent conquer the work/life balance on their own schedule.

Co-working spaces that offer childcare

As more parents are able to work remotely, co-working spaces are becoming increasingly popular.  This is a space that a group of people rent together with the added bonus of built-in childcare.  Instead of trying to work at home with your young kids or taking them to daycare, moms can leave their child with trusted caregivers as they get the job done.

Flexible positions

It’s not shocking that a career as a busy lawyer or doctor will unlikely offer flexibility in your day-to-day routine.  There are a range of careers, however, that will.

For example, flexibility is built in to a career running your own business.  Case in point, a CEFI Dealing Representative specifically helps Canadian families set up Registered Education Savings Plans or RESPs under the umbrella of CEFI.  What that means is – setting your own goals, working hours that meet your lifestyle demands and developing your own clients and book of business with access to the full support and resources from the CEFI head office.

The job can also be rewarding to assist young students and their families realize their goal of a higher education, while at the same time having the flexibility to tend to your own family.

Flex schedules

Moms who are granted flex schedules at work can stagger their clock-in time, which can help make mornings less hectic.  Starting work later in the morning is especially helpful for parents who need to make sure their children get on the school bus. A flex schedules can also mean an employee trades in their lunch break in lieu of an earlier release time.

4 day work weeks

Working moms are used to getting lots done in a small amount of time. Although the 5 o’clock quitting time isn’t likely to change, the length of a workweek can.  When companies implement the 4 day work week, moms can reap major benefits from having an extra day off.  Instead of spending the weekend catching up on chores and grocery shopping, they can focus more on family activities.

Offering flexibility on the job helps more than just moms.  It is also enticing the younger population of workers who have a strong preference for flexible working arrangements.  Tara Dragon, an Edmonton-based human resources expert, notes: “Flexibility is something of value to people regardless of where they are in their career.

Finding balance as a parent can be a challenge, but with a flexible work arrangement, moms can still put their talents to good use and take care of their families at the same time.

4 Books to Read in Your 20’s That Will Change Your Life

The years you spend in your 20’s are the years meant for making mistakes, learning about love and heartbreak, and growing as an individual. It is the perfect time to navigate through challenges, explore new cities and relationships, and start focusing on career goals. It is also the ideal time to read some amazing books.

You might think that your college courses, new job opportunities, or active social life are too time consuming to ever allow you to read for fun. But no matter what, you should always find at least 20 minutes a day to read something of value. Once you get into this healthy habit, be sure to pick up these 4 books to read during your 20’s – they just might change your life!

A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf

Woolf has come out with quite a few must-reads, but there is nothing like reading A Room of One’s Own if you are 20-something female. Woolf’s writing is typically aimed at empowering young women and thoroughly examining sexism in the modern world.

This book is no exception; it provides eye-opening commentary on influential female figures throughout history. All of you women in your 20’s should head to your nearest bookstore or visit the Kindle store and start reading A Room of One’s Own.

Presence by Amy Cuddy

Not everyone who falls between the ages of 20 to 29 will find Presence a fun read, but you’ll at least find it extremely helpful for the job-hunting process. According to Mike Simpson, an expert on interviewing, making a good first impression during any job interview is key. Cuddy absolutely agrees and she goes over how to do this in detail within the pages of Presence.

Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed

Perhaps you are familiar with Cheryl Strayed’s work, or at least you have some idea of it if you watched the feature film Wild. Strayed is a frontrunner when it comes to providing people in their 20s with long lasting life lessons. She has experienced some serious s*** in her life – as you know if you read or watched Wild – so she has some great insight for young people everywhere.

Tiny Beautiful Things is a collection of pieces from Cheryl’s time as an advice columnist working for The Rumpus. Even if you are familiar with these pieces, invest in the book since there are some never-before-published pieces within its pages. Don’t be surprised if some of the stories make you want to cry, laugh, or just flat out conquer the world.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling

Mindy Kaling is considered to be one of the funniest women of our time, and you’ll be able to see that as you flip through her autobiography Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns). She covers a huge range of topics and touches on her experiences as a child of Indian immigrants, her time working on the set of The Office, and her take on life and love.

How to Find the Right Graduate Program in 4.5 Simple Steps

These Tips, Tricks, and Tools Make Finding a Graduate School Easier Than Ever

You survived undergrad. Maybe you’ve even survived a few (or more than a few!) years out in “the real world”. First of all, congratulations! Making it this far is no small feat. But now that you have decided to pursue a graduate degree, there is a whole new set of challenges to deal with– first and foremost, deciding on the right graduate program for you.

If choosing the right graduate program seems overwhelming, don’t worry– we’re in it with you. That’s why we put together this simple guide to finding the right graduate program for you. Here’s the short version:

  • Search the internet
  • Make a spreadsheet
  • Send some emails
  • Take a road trip (or plane trip, or boat trip)
  • Get the inside scoop

The first step in finding the perfect graduate program is searching the web for schools you might want to research further.

1. See what the internet has to say about programs in your chosen field.

There’s a reason that the verb google was added to the dictionary— it’s a huge part of how we find out information these days. “Googling it” is a great way to start any information-gathering process, and researching graduate programs is no different.

You can also try using these resources to find some graduate programs that might be a good fit for your goals. At this point, you want to cast a wide net– try to find 15 to 20 potential programs using:

  • GradSchoolMatch. Narrowing your search to programs that truly fit your interests has never been so easy. GradSchoolMatch also gives you reminders about application deadlines and other important dates.
  • Peterson’s. This is your one-stop shop for all things grad school. Whether you need to find a school, learn about funding your education, or prep for important entrance exams, Peterson’s has you covered.
  • GradSchools.com. AKA, the #1 graduate school directory in the nation. If there’s any information you’ve been unable to find thus far in your search, you can find it on GradSchools.com.

Organizational tools like Google Sheets and Gmass are essential to finding the right graduate school for you.

2. Get organized with Google Sheets.

How are you going to keep track of the important information you find during the research phase? With a handy dandy Google Sheet, of course. Part of Google’s cloud-based suite of professional tools, Google Sheets are a free way to keep all of your grad schools in a row (or column– whatever floats your boat).

Make sure you have an email address for each institution on your list– this will be important in step 3.

3. Harness the power of mail merge and put admissions office to the test.

Most guides to selecting a graduate program will tell you to come up with a question you can’t easily find online– such as “What type of career services do you make available to graduate students?”– and email admissions offices to see how they respond.

In addition to getting the answer to your original question, the way the admissions office responds will tell you a lot about how each institution treats its students.

Mail merge is a powerful tool that allows you to use information from a spreadsheet (like the university name, email, and other information you collected in step 2) to streamline the process of sending emails to lots of people at once.

All you have to do is create a message template and link it to your Google Sheet. That might sound complicated, but with the mail merge tool Gmass, it’s as simple as drafting a message in Gmail.

Visiting prospective schools gives you a much better sense of what it will actually be like to attend.

4. Take a good ol’ fashioned college road trip.

Based on the results of step 3, narrow down your list to the 5 graduate programs you are most seriously considering. After that, make some time in your schedule to stop by and visit those schools. Nothing gives you a better sense of what a school’s like than actually being on its campus.

4.5 Get the inside scoop from faculty and students.

While you’re on campus, take advantage of your greatest resources– the school’s students and faculty. Unlike tour guides, who will give you a practiced spiel about the school, you can rely on students you find milling around the library or quad to tell you what it’s really like to attend. Be sure to have questions ready!

Finding the right graduate school can be tricky, but you’ll be glad you did your research and found the perfect program in the end.

Finding the right graduate program can seem daunting, but when you follow these steps, the whole process gets a lot easier. Be sure to take advantage of tools like Google Sheets and Gmass to keep your search organized. Good luck!

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